Rockies sign Seth Smith for $2.4 million to avoid arbitration

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Seth Smith is the latest arbitration eligible player to avoid tomorrow’s deadline, agreeing to a one-year deal with the Rockies that Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports is worth $2.4 million.

Trade rumors have swirled around Smith all offseason, particularly once the Rockies bumped him from the starting lineup by signing Michael Cuddyer as their new right fielder.

For a fourth outfielder $2.4 million would be expensive, so the Rockies may continue to shop Smith after getting him under contract for 2012.

His raw numbers are inflated by Coors Field and Smith has never really hit left-handed pitching, but he’s a career .292 hitter with an .881 OPS versus right-handers and would make for a nice (and fairly cheap) platoon starter on a lot of teams.

UPDATE: That was fast. Smith has been traded to the A’s for a pair of pitchers.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.